By Rear Adm. Mike S. White
Commander, Naval Education and Training Command
As you read this blog there are more than 31,000 Sailors in commands around the world being trained in the skills and abilities that keep our Navy the most formidable maritime force in the world, and our republic free.
Having completed a successful deployment with the Carrier Strike Group Eleven aboard USS Nimitz in December 2013, I am fully aware of the positive impact the training commands within the Naval Education and Training Command (NETC) domain have on our Navy’s readiness. Strike Group Eleven completed exercises in the 5th, 6th and 7th Fleet areas of responsibility and supported Operation ENDURING FREEDOM, completing every task with skill and expertise that, I believe, would be the envy of any military commander. Throughout my career I’ve had the opportunity to work side by side with some of the most exceptional people in the world – United States Navy Sailors. I know what they are capable of and I know that the only way they achieve this level of readiness is with exemplary training and education.
We often talk about our people as the factor that sets our Navy apart from all others. That standard of excellence begins when we recruit the best civilians in the nation. Our training commands provide nearly all the accession training for new Sailors. In FY13 Recruit Training Command (RTC) trained 43,279 enlisted Sailors, while the 61 Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps (NROTC) units, consisting of 75 host schools and 89 cross-town affiliations at colleges and universities around the nation, trained and educated 756 midshipmen. In the Seaman to Admiral 21 program last year we trained 196 Sailors, while 1,094 were trained at the Officer Candidate School at Newport, RI.
NETC is one of the largest commands in the Navy with an integrated workforce including more than 12,000 military, civilian, and contractors supporting the Fleet. Every Sailor in the Navy participates in our training and education program at some point in their career. Following their accession training, Sailors go on to learn the skills they will use every day as they serve around the globe. On any given day, there are more than 31,000 students enrolled in the more than 5,000 NETC courses at more than 240 NETC learning sites worldwide.
Our training commands provide individual technical training in weapons and platform operations and maintenance. Our learning centers are positioned across the nation and are structured to focus on specific training supporting the warfighting enterprises. The Training Support Centers located in San Diego, Calif., Hampton Roads, Va. and Great Lakes, Ill. provide support to all Sailors in the region.
To meet current and future requirements, our training is developed in partnership with our customers – the Fleet. Fleet representatives and community managers from Naval Personnel Command join us for reviews of curriculum, including via the Human Performance Requirements Review (HPRR) process. A HPRR is a comprehensive review of existing training against validated requirements involving systems and platforms as well as community or career management needs. This is just one way we work with the experts in the Fleet to enable readiness.
To support our Sailor’s career progression, we provide the enlisted advancement exams, and the Personnel Qualification Standards (PQS) and Rate Training Manuals that Sailors use to prepare for the exams. Much of the Navy’s leadership training is developed and coordinated through our training commands as well. Advanced education initiatives including voluntary education programs, enlisted education programs, scholarships, and graduate and advanced voucher programs which allow Sailors to earn college credits and degrees are part of our mission.
The high quality of our training is recognized by industry and civilian certifications for our graduates through the Navy Credentialing Opportunities On-line (COOL), the American Council on Education (ACE), and the Council on Occupational Education (COE). The United Services Military Apprenticeship Program (USMAP) is a formal military training program that provides active duty Navy, Coast Guard, and Marine Corps service members the opportunity to improve their job skills and to complete civilian apprenticeship requirements while they are on active duty. The U.S. Department of Labor provides a nationally recognized “Certificate of Completion” that gives veterans an advantage in getting civilian jobs when they have finished serving in uniform.
I’m excited to be a part of the dynamic team here at NETC, and I want to share the excitement. Our vision is to be the global leader in the rapid development and delivery of effective, leading edge training for our naval forces. To achieve this vision, we will continue to work in partnership with the experts in the Fleet to identify training requirements and meet those needs by leveraging advanced technology to optimize the performance of our Sailors. If you are in a Fleet leadership position, come visit our training commands to see where YOUR Sailors learn their critical skills. Feedback about our training programs is crucial and we invite you to contact us through our Fleet Feedback link on our Web site to help us improve. I also ask that you talk to your Sailors about joining the NETC team as an instructor where they will personally influence the next generation of Sailors in the United States Navy.